North Iowa Local Food Coalition Hosts National Author

The North Iowa Local Food Coalition announces plans to host national speaker and author, Mark Winne, at their Community Forum set for Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Mason City Chamber of Commerce.

It takes strong coalitions and partnerships to plan and develop a local food system. The North Iowa Local Food Coalition is a key player in North Iowa’s local food efforts. This broad-based network helps identify and connect relationships, technical, business, and communication assets of local and regional food system development that improves the health, economic, and environmental sustainability of producers and communities in North Iowa. The Coalition hosts quarterly meetings that highlight priority topics including food hub development, community gardens, farm to school programming, and food waste.

“The Coalition is a critical network engaging in North Iowa’s local food development.”, explained Jan Libbey, Executive Director of Healthy Harvest of North Iowa, “Local food system work is complex requiring input from many partners. We are excited to host this Community Forum, inviting a broad cross section of the community to join in our efforts, folding in Mark Winne’s experience and insights.”

Mr. Winne is a senior advisor to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. A food systems advocate for more than 40 years, Mark is cofounder of the Community Food Security Coalition. While there, he worked as the food policy council program director. Mark has dedicated his professional life and writing to enabling people to find solutions to their own food problems, as well as those that face their communities and the world. A short introduction to Mark Winne can be found at

The meeting will take place at the Band Festival Room of the Mason City Chamber,  9 N. Federal Ave., Mason City, IA 50401. A social hour will run from 5:30-6:30 pm. with food will be available for purchase from Piggyback Smokeshack of Osage.

Mr. Winne’s presentation to follow, titled “How Do We Take Care of Our Own?:, will focus on

questions including, Is our local food work reaching everybody in the community? How are we helping

those who are organized already? How do we do collaboration more effectively and make bigger impact on our food system. He will share examples of lessons learned from his own projects and reflect with North Iowans on the progress being made in this region. Discussion following Mr. Winne’s remarks will invite feedback from three panelists representing several perspectives on the food system – from producer to health care provider. A whole group discussion will wrap up the evening as attendees discuss how to strengthen the Coalition to keep building the food system.

Mr. Winne has written several books and will be selling and signing his most recent book titled “Stand Together or Starve Alone”.

Coalition partners include Cerro Gordo County Public Health, Healthy Mason City, Landfill of North Iowa, NetZro, North Iowa, Farmers Market, Iowa State Extension & Outreach, Cerro Gordo, Worth, Franklin Counties, North Iowa Fresh, North Iowa Corridor, One Vision, and Healthy Harvest of North Iowa. The Coalition welcomes new participants.

Support for the Community Forum comes from POET Biorefining of Hanlontown and Mercy of North Iowa.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit or contact